[Siren Classic: Erotic Paranormal Romance, Historical, Time-travel]
Green-eyed and deceptively fragile-looking, Katelyn’s inner strength helped her overcome the loss of two husbands, though the whole ordeal has left her emotionally hollow. Her second husband’s suicide has left a cloud of mystery hanging heavily around her. She just can’t shake free of it, can’t regain her equilibrium. She is through with men and through with love, resigned to spend the rest of her life alone. When Katelyn suddenly finds herself in a century not her own, she struggles to decipher fate’s design. Used and abused by Queen Elizabeth herself, Katelyn must use her knowledge of the sixteenth century to satisfy her queen, even to the extent of foiling Robert Dudley’s quest to be king. Is her destiny to fulfill a legend, capture the heart of the gorgeous border lord that has represented himself perfectly as the man of her dreams, or save a queen from a fatal mistake?
A Siren Erotic Romance
The strong scent of wood filled her nostrils, mingling nicely with the other smells in the room. Unexpectedly, a new scent singled itself out, and Katelyn inhaled deeply as her mind searched to identify it. She started to turn, almost bumping Cole’s chest with her nose. She hadn’t realized he had moved so close to her. The scent overwhelmed her senses and exuded powerfully from him. Katelyn could not put her finger on the exact mix, but if she had to put a name to it, she would have guessed it was a blend of wood, fresh air, and—oh definitely!—male. Katelyn drew in a sharp breath, her hand flying to her throat. She raised her eyes and was struck dumb by the dark, piercing gaze that collided with hers.
His smile was warm, and a chuckle rumbled up from his chest, deep and low. Chills raced up her spine at the raw sound of it. His hand reached out to steady her, and she trembled at his touch.
“Um…” She felt more like a silly schoolgirl than a woman twice widowed and experienced enough to know the way of it between a man and a woman.
“Come, sit,” he replied, his voice deep and a small smile creeping to his mouth. “Welcome to my home.”
Katelyn noticed again the slight burr in his voice and found it oddly soothing.
Cole led her from among the bookshelves toward a chair positioned by a large fireplace. A roaring fire emitted a soothing warmth, and Katelyn sank down gratefully. Cole went into a sideboard, poured wine into two goblets, and set them on a nearby table. He dropped to the floor at Katelyn’s feet.
Katelyn forced herself to concentrate on the flames, and kept reminding herself to breathe.
She reached for a goblet, taking a large drink. “So,” she began, feeling someone should say something, as usual.
“Do ye ken why ye are here?” he said abruptly.
The deep timbre of his voice momentarily mesmerized Katelyn. “Nope. You?” Katelyn said, guzzling more wine. It occurred to her that she should be nervous, perhaps even frightened, by the situation she and Laura had landed in. Strangely, she wasn’t. Not any more, anyway. Not since they had left Jamison’s.
“Ye hae been sent to be my wife.”
Katelyn’s jaw dropped. She hadn’t been sure what she had expected him to say, but that wasn’t it. Her mouth worked, but no sound came out. After several long moments, she managed to croak, “I’ve what?” She fought the urge to leap to her feet and clutch at her throat. She felt she like she couldn’t get any air in her lungs.
“Let’s begin at the beginning.”
“Yes, let’s,” she managed to say and swigged more wine.
“Yer here to be my bride. I dinna ken how or why, but what hae happened to ye has happened in the past, and the outcome has always been the same.” She didn’t respond, and he continued in the same calm manner. “About every other generation, someone is sent to the Cailins from another time and place for the sole purpose of becoming the wife of the current earl of Cailin’s Cairn.”
The word earl stuck in Katelyn’s brain, echoing like a broken record. Her brain had done the math, but didn’t seem ready to accept what it had already perceived. There were no earls in twentieth century America. So, it would appear that she and Laura had traveled to another country, or another time, or both. Or had she just completely lost her mind?
“What year is it?” Katelyn asked, her voice just a whisper.
“The year of our Lord fifteen hundred and fifty-nine.”
“Oh, God,” Katelyn moaned. She doubled over reflexively. Her worst fears had just been confirmed. She had almost hoped it was just a cross-country, even a transatlantic, trip. She knew now that it was much more than that.
“Are ye all right?” Cole leaned toward her, a worried expression etched on his face.
“Fine, fine,” Katelyn replied with a nervous laugh, rubbing her eye absently. “If you happen to define finding yourself in another century, sipping wine with the most gorgeous man you’ve ever seen as fine.” Cole raised an eyebrow, and she was appalled at the realization that she had spoken that thought aloud. “God, that was rude of me. I’m sorry.”
He squeezed her hand. “No need to be sorry. I’m pleased. And flattered,” he added with a crooked grin. Katelyn blushed, and Cole seemed to enjoy that very much. “How did ye come to be at Jamison’s table?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” She laughed ruefully.
“Ye may be surprised what I will believe, after what I’ve witnessed this night.”
Cole hadn’t let go of her hand, and she found she didn’t want him to. “I was at my house, in my own time,” she began, feeling a little calmer.
Katelyn smiled as she mimicked Cole’s earlier response to that same question. “The year of our Lord two thousand and nine.”
Cole’s eyes twinkled. “Well, then, it would seem that I am about four hundred and fifty years old to ye.” He feigned worry. “Am I aging gracefully?” he asked with a chuckle.
His laugh was infectious, and Katelyn couldn’t help but join in. The tension had broken, and Katelyn felt quite comfortable at that moment, sequestered in the library of a sixteenth-century earl that had so far represented himself quite successfully as the man of her dreams.
She closed her eyes and breathed in the musky scent of him. She was so happy to be back in his embrace, where she belonged. While she knew it was neither the place nor the time, as relief poured through her, desire rose in its place, and her breath caught as she became very aware of his body pressed tightly to hers, felt him grow hard against her belly. She thrilled at the sensation as white hot longing spiraled through her.
He swiped her cheeks with his thumbs, cupping her face in their broad expanse. He lowered his mouth to hers, kissing her desperately. She returned his kiss with enthusiasm. His hands stole to her breasts, and he clutched one as his other hand circled her waist and steered her backward. Her back thudded against the wall. He ripped his lips from hers as he groped for her skirts, bunching them around her waist, clutching them with one hand against the wall.
“I need ye,” he said, his eyes dark and hungry.
Her heart skipped a few beats as raw desire ripped through her. “Yes,” she whispered.
“Tell me ye want me,” he growled, nipping her shoulder.
She craned her neck, and he ran kisses up to her earlobe. “I want you--,” her voice broke as he blew in her ear. She shivered violently. The tugging between her legs became more insistent, and she pushed her pelvis against him. “Badly.”
He melded his mouth to hers, then pushed his upper body against her, slipping a hand between her thighs. His eyes filled with lust when he felt the evidence of her desire on his fingers. He stared into her eyes as his fingers delved deeper, searching for more evidence of her passion. “Yer so hot and wet.”
“Told you I wanted you,” she rejoined, pressing herself against his hand and rotating her hips eagerly. “Make me come.”
“Yer a demanding little thing, aren’t ye?”
“Yes, I am. Stop stalling.”
He chuckled in response and kissed her as he rubbed her hard, cupping her warmth as she whimpered and parted her legs farther to allow him easier access.
“God, yes,” she encouraged him, letting her head fall back against the wall and closing her eyes. He touched a fingertip to her swollen nub, then worked it in a small circular motion until she drew in a sharp breath and stiffened, her climax coming fast and hard. He cupped her gently as she convulsed against his palm, gasping in pleasure.
“I’m sorry, Kate,” he whispered. “I canna wait any longer.”
“Take me now,” she commanded hoarsely.
He groaned, reaching down to release the catch on his breeches and jerking them down one-handed. He grabbed her wrists and lifted her arms above her head where he held them tightly.
She rose on her toes, pressing her body against his. She tipped her head toward his ear. “Fuck me hard. Do it now!”
“Ye greedy wench.” He smiled as he positioned himself and thrust into her. He supported himself with a forearm pressed to the wall as the other clutched her skirts higher to keep them out of the way.